By inviting a transgender to hoist the tricolour on the 67 Independence Day, perhaps for the first time in the city, C.S.I. Jayaraj Annapackiam High School in Melur stood out in the crowd on Thursday.

Transgender activist Bharathi Kannamma hoisted the national flag at the school and distributed free notebooks, pens and sweets to a gathering of 250 students.

“It is the first time that a transgender has been invited to hoist the flag. It is a momentous occasion and I felt as if the transgender community gained independence from social stigma today. The school has set an example for others,” Ms.Kannamma told The Hindu.

Addressing the students, Ms.Kannamma said the school’s act was laudable as it reached out to an oppressed community – true to the words of Jesus Christ – by inviting her to be the chief guest.

“Do not humiliate your classmate if you find him or her a transgender. Encourage such persons to continue studies and succeed in life,” Priya Babu, another transgender and activist, told the students.

Ms.Kannamma and Ms.Babu were accompanied by Brindha and Anu, two other persons from the transgender community.

P.S.Shanthi, Principal, was behind the unconventional choice of the chief guest.

“The idea behind inviting a transgender to be the chief guest of Independence Day celebration is to help them enter the mainstream society. Having closely observed Ms.Kannamma’s service to society, I wanted to honour her,” she explained.

She thanked Jacob, school correspondent, for supporting her idea.

More In: Madurai